WILLIAMS, Ariz. - After years of discussion about developing a theme park in Williams, recent legislation may allow for an easier way to finance a park in town at some point in the future.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed HB2694 into law on April 30. The legislation relates to the formation of theme park districts and bonding authority.
According to the legislation, a theme park district is a tax levying public improvement district that "is a corporate and political body and, except as otherwise limited, modified or provided by this chapter, has all of the rights, powers and immunities of municipal corporations."
Previous legislation in 2005 established the administrative, operational and financial requirements of theme park districts. The legislation pertains to a city with a population of more than one million people and a county with a population of more than 125,000 but less than 150,000 and a city with a population of more than 3,000 people but less than 5,000 people located entirely in that county.
Williams would fit into the second category, with an estimated population of 3,020 in 2012. The estimated population within Coconino County at that time was 135,862.
While the previous legislation stipulated that the governing bodies of the two cities would have to jointly establish the theme park district, the new legislation allows for a single site to establish the district and to add additional sites later.
Several previous attempts to establish a theme park in Williams have failed. City Manager Brandon Buchanan said with the new legislation, a theme park could theoretically be developed more easily in Williams.
"We're probably as close as we were 20 years ago when they started talking about it, except for now we have a little bit of legislation to go with it," Buchanan said. "We've got 10 miles to go. We've taken the first six inches. That's where we're at."
Posted: Friday, May 23, 2014
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To my understanding, the primary goal of this legislation isn't necessarily a theme park, it's to finally help get the Arizona State Railroad Museum built that Al Richmond has been so valiantly trying to get built in Williams. Theme Parks are pretty much secondary at this point to the Railroad Museum.